Last year, I learnt a few valuable lessons about innovation. Some you already know. I would like to share a few.
1. I once failed SSCE Maths. I scored an A the second time I took the exam, because I learnt something that has not left me till this day.
If you read and think about something over and over again, you will eventually spot patterns and may even decode it entirely. That’s how light bulb moments are created. I passed Math because I read it till I got it.
Many people discard and give up on ideas too early. Keep thinking about your idea. Chew on it. Discuss it with your spirit and with God, until illumination comes. I have a rule. As long as the Universe has solved a problem before, it means I can solve it too. If I ruminate on the problem long enough, the beginning of the answer will come.
2. I read a lot. Sometimes someone else has the key to a problem I’m trying to solve. Their writings become a catalyst and idea spark.
3. Sounding boards are essential to innovation. When I discuss an idea with a friend over lunch, I am asked questions that put my ideas in better perspective. Writing is also a great sounding board. When I sketch out an idea on paper, I can see the linkages between different items and also get a helicopter view of the entire problem and my proposed solution.
4. I have used Excel more in a few months than I’ve done in my entire life. Running numbers gives me a better insight into the financial viability of an idea. Running projections helps me to decide whether it’s worth pursuing an idea.
5. I implement imperfect ideas and I do so quickly. I never wait for an idea to be fully formed before I start using it. Implementation helps me to test the idea in the real world and to refine it on-the-fly. Also, opportunities expire quickly. If you sense a window of opportunity, take it. Don’t be delayed by analysis paralysis.
6. Build a great team. Nothing frustrates a good idea like a slow and inefficient implementation team. You generate energy for more creativity when you see your ideas take shape. Surround yourself with people who move fast and are good at what they do.
I hope these tips help you.